Psychotherapy - anyone?

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blueorange

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My psychiatrist suggesting me psychotherapy. Since it is expensive and time consuming I want to be sure that it will help. I have no idea.

Psychotherapy will be performed by another psychiatrist who has a psychoanalysis licence or something like that. She said that I must continue for at least one year and at least once every week to benefit from it. That's too expensive. Anyway, if it will change things I will do my best to pay this.

What is this actually, do you suggest?

Note: I've been diagnosed with bipolar seven months ago. My pdoc considers that it started in my childhood (I have suicide attempts from age 8 and some other things) but somehow diagnosed late, at age 32.
 
Purple Chaos

Purple Chaos

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I can understand why you'd want to ask before starting but I don't know that anyone can tell you for sure if it's going to work for you or not. If there are people here, who have been through similar therapy, they may be able to share their experiences. I have only had shorter courses of therapy in the past, mainly CBT, so I'm not really in a position to advise.

Perhaps you need to find out exactly what type of psychotherapy it is and what it will involve before making your decision. Have you discussed your concerns about expenses to your psychiatrist? Are there not any cheaper alternatives?
 
pepecat

pepecat

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I had psychotherapy for two and a half years. I found it really helpful..... but I wanted a therapy that would go quite deep into stuff so I could understand myself better, rather than something like CBT which is a bit more about 'tools to cope with' rather than 'understanding'.

Psychotherapy is a long term commitment. It's hard work, can be quite intense at times...... and it'll probably make you feel worse for a time before you start feeling better.
On the plus side, if you can stick with it and put the work in, it can be really good.
Psychotherapy will look at your childhood - that's kinda what it's about. Exploring what went on in your childhood and earlier life to uncover coping mechanisms and ways of being that affect the way you behave and feel now. It's not much fun ruthlessly examining yourself in that way......
Probably the most important aspect of psychotherapy (and any longer term therapy) is the relationship with the therapist. My therapist told me once that in one sense it doesn't really matter what we talk about - it's more about the relationship between the two of you. The psychotherapy should provide a safe, non-judgemental space for you to explore stuff that's painful and hard to deal with, and the therapist becomes the person with whom you can work through all that stuff. Another important part of therapy is called 'transference' and it kinda works like this: (from my understanding)
- When we were kids we might have felt angry at something that happened to us
- But our family situation didn't allow us to express that anger properly - because we were brought up to be 'good' or taught that 'girls don't get angry', or we were simply not listened to, or not validated or taken seriously.
- In therapy we can talk about that situation with the therapist and 'transfer' our anger on to the therapist. So you can get angry with the therapist, and express it in a 'safe' place, with a non-judgemental, safe person and work through it.

If that makes sense......

If you do do psychotherapy, you need to find a therapist you get on with. If you're going to be seeing them once a week, long term, then it has to be someone you can work with. You don't have to like them all that much initially (and you may well not when they get you talking about painful stuff!).
My therapist scared me initially and I didn't like her all that much, but I knew she was someone I could work with - I got the impression from her when I first met her that she would be good for me - challenge me when i needed it. I was right. She was brilliant, and after I"d kinda sussed her out and realised I was safe with her and she wasn't going to let me down, I started opening up about things. She could play hard ball sometimes and challenge me about stuff, and she could also be really gentle when I was feeling vulnerable.

If you don't get on with this psychiatrist who's going to do the therapy, it would be worth finding someone else. Don't stick with them 'just because' if it's not working.
 
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blueorange

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Thank you very much for the replies :)

Pepecat, what happens when I understand my past, I mean how the therapist will cure me by talking?
Actually I once started psychotherapy in the university, which I totally forget. There I just felt very bad, I remember it. Then I stopped.
It hurts me when I think about talking about my childhood. There is no big trauma but I suffered a lot. Very deeply. Always angry and always sad, in pain. I don't want to remember. That will be difficult for sure.
 
pepecat

pepecat

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Pepecat, what happens when I understand my past, I mean how the therapist will cure me by talking?
I'm going to get all 'therapy' on you now...... :D
The therapist doesn't 'cure' you....... what they do is listen, and give you a safe place to explore stuff and let the anger and sadness and pain out, and work through it, and in that process, healing (or 'mending' as my therapist called it) takes place. If you engage with the therapy, then you kinda do a lot of it yourself - not consciously - but it sort of happens as part of the process. You and the therapist do it together - it's not 'them doing to you' in the way that a doc would stitch a wound and you just sit there and let them get on with it. It's a joint effort.

I found that in understanding my past, a lot of mending happened. Nothing traumatic had happened to me - but circumstances had led me to be very sad, and lonely and I ended up with major depression. I thought I had no right to feel that way - to feel anything really....... I grew up with the idea that feelings were a bad thing, that I wasn't allowed to have them (especially negative feelings), that I couldn't express them.
Talking about my childhood helped me understand that I wasn't a bad person for having feelings, and therapy gave me a place to start feeling things and expressing them where it was safe to do so.
I guess now I know why I rationalise things and surpress my feelings sometimes, why I find emotions hard to deal with sometimes...... I understand how I 'tick' a lot better, and that helps me now when I'm anxious or feeling sad to stop and think 'Now what's this about', and I"m generally better able to figure out what's going on and sit with the negative emotions rather than push them away. I suppose in the past I would have just reacted to stuff without being able to tell you why I reacted a certain way, but now I know that some reactions go back to when I was a kid and stuff I learned to cope back then. That knowledge means I can now change, or at least understand and deal with, the way I react to things.

Does that make some sort of sense?

It hurts me when I think about talking about my childhood. There is no big trauma but I suffered a lot. Very deeply. Always angry and always sad, in pain. I don't want to remember. That will be difficult for sure.
That sounds like it will be difficult. But a decent therapist isn't going to expect you to open up and do the 'deep' stuff straight away. They'll lead you in gently and let you go at your pace. There's no point scaring you off at the start! It took me about a year or so with my therapist before I started opening up more fully to her - I often felt like I wasted that first year, but she always said that I'd needed it to know I could trust her. She never pushed me to talk about stuff I didn't want to talk about - well, not too much anyway. Occasionally she did if she thought I could handle it, but she never pushed me over my limit.

Sessions will be very much led by you anyway - or should be. My therapist virtually never started a session - she'd just sit there and let me start talking..... which was REALLY hard. But it means that you can then follow on from the week before if you like, or bring up something new, or just sit there and go 'I feel bad and I don't know why' if you want. Or you can sit in silence if you want as well......:redface:
 
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blueorange

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Pepecat, how I'm grateful to you for writing me such a nice and detailed reply.
Yes, it sure makes sense.
It sounds like it will help me both for today and the future.
Sometimes I feel so desperate, sad and confused and I can't stop myself from writing an e-mail to my pdoc. It's certain that I'm unable to solve my problems on my own. Luckly my pdoc is so nice to me but this is not his job. I mean I should not write him e-mails when I feel too much pain because what can he do? He is doing his best as a pdoc and in addition I need a psychotherapy, that's obvious ok I accept it :)

I also think about If I'm not bipolar. A part of me doesn't believe I'm bipolar. I started to search about what happens if a healthy person (I mean who doesn't have a bipolar) takes mood stabilizers and if they have mania when they stop using them. And what happens when a person with unipolar depression takes antipsychotics. I'm searching for these because I'm confused and can't distinguish between a normal mood and (hypo)manic mood so I don't know where is my mania really. I know I had one 1-2 months ago, I know it because I paid attention to my mood after the diagnosis. Before that I really don't know. So I just wonder if that mania could be a result of me using lithium. But my pdoc doesn't suspect if I'm not. He is very confident about the diagnosis and he is the best pdoc in bipolar in my country. But everybody can make mistakes :p He says that the reaction of my brain to the drugs confirmed the diagnosis. But if I'm wrong. If I'm misleading him? Because I don't know, I simply don't know.

Ohh my brain. Ok ok I stop asking :)
 
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blueorange

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Nothing traumatic had happened to me - but circumstances had led me to be very sad, and lonely and I ended up with major depression. I thought I had no right to feel that way - to feel anything really....... I grew up with the idea that feelings were a bad thing, that I wasn't allowed to have them (especially negative feelings), that I couldn't express them.
I had lots of tantrums when I was a child. Always felt that I was a bad child, I was giving my family pain but I couldn't stop my tantrums. After a while I was feeling so sad, crying nonstop. I was telling my mom that I didn't mean to but I couldn't stop. Always ashamed of myself. When I grew up to the age 10-11 I was still having tantrums and telling my mom that something happening inside my brain and I was in pain. And there were times that I was hearing a voice telling me to fight with everybody. Things like that. In the end I was always irritable and sad with nearly no peace at all. I don't remember any "feeling extremely good". Just "madness" and pain.
 

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